Local charity Read Easy South and East Wiltshire used World Book Day 2023 to encourage adults who struggle to read to come forward and ask for help.
Team leader, Julia West, said: “We asked people who know of friends, employees or family members who cannot read, to pass on the Read Easy South and East Wiltshire phone number 07942 382318, and encourage them to make a call that could transform their lives. Give someone the gift of reading. There is no charge and it could change their life.”
World Book Day is an annual event that aims to inspire children to read for pleasure and read together with their families.
But parents and grandparents who cannot read are not able to provide this support for their children and their learning, with many missing out on the important bonding time that comes with sharing a bedtime story.
The BBC1 documentary ‘Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51’ followed The Repair Shop presenter and dad Jay Blades as he learnt to read with Read Easy.
Like many other parents who struggle to read, Jay had never been able to read his children bedtime stories. The highlight of the documentary was when Jay reached his goal of being able to read his teenage daughter one of her favourite childhood books.
There are thousands of adults in Wiltshire who, like Jay, struggle to read. For them, everyday tasks such as booking a doctor’s appointment, reading road signs or doing the food shopping can be incredibly challenging.
Read Easy South and East Wiltshire offers free and confidential, one-to-one coaching, from trained volunteers.
Coaches and learners meet twice a week at approved local venues, or online, to work for just half an hour at a time through a structured, phonics-based reading programme.
Julia West added that, those who struggle to read should not feel embarrassed about coming forward and asking for help: “There are lots of different reasons why people don’t learn to read in childhood.
“For some it may have been a lack of support from their own family or school, for others it may have been undiagnosed dyslexia.
“People should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. We are friendly, welcoming and here to help, whatever your age. It will be just you and the coach, no-one else need know.”
Jonathan is one of Read Easy’s success stories. He started the Read Easy programme in 2020 when the country went into lockdown.
He found it frustrating not being able to help his children with home-schooling. Now, he can read with his family, enjoys reading novels and has a new-found confidence in himself and in
He said of the support he received: “More than anything I want to know I have achieved something in life and to show my kids that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
“Most importantly, I want to see the smiles on their faces when I read to them. It’s such a massive achievement for me and nothing makes me happier.”
Read Easy South and East Wiltshire are also looking for more volunteers to enable them to help more adults in the area, both as coaches and management team members.
If you could spare a few hours a week, please get in touch.
For more information about learning to read please contact Clare on 07921 059 976.
To volunteer with Read Easy, please contact Ann on 07850 034 759, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: